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[Lesson 7] Acts 8

Adventures with Philip, On to Judea and Samaria
Chapter 8

Has something unexpected happened to you? If so, you know how the disciples felt. Their church was flourishing. Their faith was flowering. And then their adversaries murdered a man they all adored. And that started a landslide of persecution. Nevertheless, God’s work could not be hindered! Pray for God to give you the kind of perseverance that kept these first century saints going!

Adventures with Philip, On to Judea and Samaria
Chapter 8

Has something unexpected happened to you? If so, you know how the disciples felt. Their church was flourishing. Their faith was flowering. And then their adversaries murdered a man they all adored. And that started a landslide of persecution. Nevertheless, God’s work could not be hindered! Pray for God to give you the kind of perseverance that kept these first century saints going!

Read Acts Chapter 8

    1. A. What happened in Jerusalem on the day of Stephen's stoning? Where did most of the Christians go? Who stayed? How did these events fulfill Acts 1:8? (8: 1)

    B. (Digging Deeper) Why would the Apostles want to stay in Jerusalem? Why do you think the Jewish leaders allowed them to remain there?

    C. Were those who scattered scared into silence? What were they doing? (8:4)

    D. When are you silent when you need to speak up? or vice versa?

    E. God used persecution in the first church to fulfill His plan. What trials, opposition or struggles are you facing that God could use for His glory? Please share.

    2. Who was the chief persecutor of the church in Jerusalem? What was his apparent intention and what were his tactics? (8:2, 3) How would you have felt if you had been a believer there?

    Now Luke records the way God used Philip, the second deacon, as an example of what he was doing all over Judea and Samaria through His "scattered" servants. The word "scattered' in Greek is used to refer to sowing seeds.

    3. A. Philip first went to a city in Samaria. What did Jews think of Samaritans? (John 4:9)

    B. (Digging Deeper) What can you learn about the animosity between these two groups?

    C. What convinced the people there to believe? (8:6-8, 12)

    D. Who wanted to cash in on Philip's success? Describe him and his activities before Philip's arrival. What did he think of himself? What did the people call him? (8:9-11)

    E. (Summit) Philip worked miracles while Simon worked magic. What do you think is the difference?

    4. A. How was Simon affected by Philip's ministry? (8:13)

    (Note: Scholars differ as to whether Simon was actually a believer. Although he professed faith, it may have only been head knowledge much like the profession of the demons in Luke 4:34. This view is substantiated by Romans 10:9 which requires that a Christian "believe in your heart" and Acts 8:21 which reveals that Simon's heart was not right before God.)

    4. B. (Summit) What kind of belief will save a sinner? What does it mean to “believe”?

    5. A. When news of the spread of faith to the Samaritans reached Jerusalem, what happened? (8:14)

    B. (Summit) Why do you think it was important for God to use the Apostles to demonstrate officially that these "half-breed" Samaritans were true participants in the church? Why wasn't Philip's confirmation enough in this situation?

    C. How did the Apostles affirm that the Samaritans were officially part of the church? (8:15-17)

    6. A. What was Simon's reaction to the giving of the Holy Spirit? What was wrong with this request? (8:18, 19)

    B. In your own words, briefly rephrase Peter's response. (8:20-23)

    C. Why do you think Simon was "full of bitterness" about what was happening in Samaria? Why is this such a dangerous sin? Have you ever felt the same way?

    (Note: According to tradition, Simon was later known as an intense opponent to Christianity and the father of the heresy known as Gnosticism.)

    7. How was the gospel spread further among the Samaritans? (8:25)

    Philip had witnessed to half-Jews (Samaritans), but not to "out and out" Gentiles. Now we see the beginning of the witness "to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

    8. A. In the midst of a very successful ministry, what was Philip told to do and by whom? How did he respond? (8:26, 27a)

    B. From his response, what admirable quality is evident in Philip? Do you possess this quality? Why or why not?

    C. Who had God sovereignly arranged for Philip to meet there? Describe him. What was his status with the Jews? (Deuteronomy 23: 1)

    D. (Digging Deeper) Where is Ethiopia? What was his ethnic background? Why is this significant?

    E. Why had he traveled to Jerusalem and what was he doing on the way home? (8:27, 28, 32, 33)

    F. Describe their Bible study together. What was the eunuch's attitude toward the Scriptures? his teacher? (8:30-34)

    G. How did the eunuch express his faith in Jesus? (8:36-38)

    H. What happened to Philip after the baptism? (8:39)

    I. (Digging Deeper) Read Isaiah 56:3-5. How might this passage have encouraged the eunuch as he continued in his study of Isaiah? What impact do you think he had when he returned home?

    9. What changes occurred in the city and in the eunuch's life as a result of Philip's good news? (8:8, 39b) What then is one byproduct of salvation? Do you live this way? Why or why not?

    10. (Summit) Read about Philip the Evangelist in a Bible dictionary or commentary. What happened to Philip? What can you learn about being a witness and evangelist?

    11. (Summit) How does this chapter exemplify Ephesians 2:11-3:13?

    12. Who do you most identify with in this chapter? Are you more like Philip, the Ethiopian, the Samaritans, or Simon? Why?

Related Topics: Pneumatology (The Holy Spirit), Curriculum